Questions?

If you have questions about preserving food at home, please visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation website and search for answers to your questions.

To begin, look over the tool bar options on the left side of the home page.

“Search” allows you to search the website for a particular term of interest. “FAQs” contains answers to many common questions. “Links” connects you with contact information for your local Cooperative Extension offices and publications.

Specific recipes and processing recommendations are located under “How Do I?”. Click on the preservation method which you will be using and you will find general information about that method, followed by a list of tested recommendations from USDA, Cooperative Extension nationwide, and/or the University of Georgia.

If you still have unanswered questions, then you may submit a question about items on our website using the “Info Request” link, also located on the tool bar on the left side of the homepage. Please read through the information on this page; for example, we are not able to provide processing advice for your own recipes or for starting a food business. Due to the number of questions received, please do not expect an immediate answer. However, we do check the mailbox regularly and we will respond to your question as soon as possible.

Thank you.

11 thoughts on “Questions?

  1. Donna

    ? on dehydrating potatoes and pumpkin. I cook my potatoes and pumpkins then dehydrate the puree and process it in a blender to create a dry powder. I see that the recommendation for both potatoes and pumpkins is to cut them into slices and blanch/steam them before dehydrating. Is drying the puree as I have been doing safe?

    Reply
    1. nchfp Post author

      I’m sorry, but we have not conducted experiments with dehydrating potatoes and pumpkin into a powder, so we could not make an informed recommendation to do so. That does not necessarily mean it is not safe, but rather that we do not know and so we cannot advise you regarding your recipe and procedure.

      There are some factors of key importance to the safety of dried foods in general, including:
      1. Are working conditions sanitary at all times?
      2. Does the water activity get low enough within the first 2-4 hours of drying to prevent harmful bacterial growth? The thickness of the puree as well as actual food components can influence how quickly it dries down for water control.
      The preservation factor in dried foods is the water activity control. For perishable foods, time that moist food spends in the Temperature Danger Zone for bacterial growth (40-140 degrees F) is a concern. In the case of these and other vegetables, there is also low enough acidity that pathogens can grow rapidly in the danger zone if the water activity remains too high.
      3. Does the mixture dry rapidly and evenly?
      4. For drying of food pieces: Are vegetables crispy dry when taken out of the dehydrator? Are fruits pliable but not sticky?
      We do have a pumpkin leather recommendation that is only dried to the rolling stage, and we have not attempted further drying of vegetable purees to powders, as stated above. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry/veg_leathers.html . It is also a sweetened product, and not exactly the same thing you are doing. The honey also helps with moisture control and we have only tracked water activity levels in this particular method of drying.
      5. Does packaging prevent the dried foods from re-absorbing moisture?
      6. Once re-hydrated, is the previously dried food treated again as a perishable food? After re-hydration, it is again a potentially hazardous food requiring refrigeration and temperature danger zone control.

      Reply

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